Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Idée fixe

I have this idea for an image. I can see it when I close my eyes. And it's not really that great of an idea; a cliche actually, almost kitsch.

It's producing an acceptable image I can see when my eyes are open that's proving to be the problem. If I can ever get it right, I can get it out of my head.

Right now it's not working ... not even close.

I'll have to put it away and come back to it later. Maybe then I can get some work done in the meantime.

The last time this happened I had 20 years of failure before I finally got the image I wanted. I don't think I've got that much time for this one.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

On The Road Again

One of the ideas suggested by Mollie Isaacs of Awake The Light at the Grandfather Mountain Nature Photography weekend was a technique for producing motion blurred images. She suggested that you have your partner drive down the road slowly while you hand-hold your camera and shoot through the windshield using a slow shutter speed.

Mary Lindhjem suggested a speed of no more than 5 mph.

Pentax K-20D, Tokina ATX-Pro 80-200 zoom @ 80mm, ISO 100, f/11 @ 1/2 second

I wanted to give it a try, but not having a partner to drive for me, I had to improvise.

I started by securely strapping my tripod in the passenger seat and mounting the camera to it. I connected my remote shutter release to the camera.

The camera was set to aperture priority auto-exposure with +1/3 stop exposure compensation at f/11; manual focus, focused as close to the Hyperfocal Distance as I could manage. For this particular lens at f/11, that gives a D.O.F. stretching from about 10 feet to infinity.

I left the in camera shake reduction turned on.

The road I chose is the main road in William B. Umstead State Park in Raleigh, NC. This is the eastern section off of Glenwood Ave (US Hwy 70). This road already has a low speed limit at 25mph, so there was less risk for me driving it at 5 mph.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Grandfather Mountain Nature Photography Weekend

The 2011 Grandfather Mountain Nature Photography Weekend is history.

My first love is nature and wildlife photography. That's where the two lanes lead me to. I didn't think I'd get the chance to attend this year's program, but the opportunity came up at the last minute, so I grabbed it.

The Nature Photography Weekend is an annual photography event at Grandfather Mountain. Along with the chance to meet and compare notes with others who share an interest in nature photography the weekend includes evening presentations from some top nature photographers. This year's speakers included:

Tony Sweet

Tony spent 20 years as a professional jazz musician before switching to photography. Tony's images show the influence of his jazz career. He's the master of photoshop improvisation.

Take a Tony Sweet workshop and you'll be talking about it years later.

Bill Fortney

Bill a Nikon Professional Services tech rep for the southern US, and amateur pilot. Bill is the author of America From 500 Feet, a runaway best seller of aerial nature photography.

Bill Lea

Bill Lea is a perfectionist at finding "just the right light." He's the go to guy for photography in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.

Vinnie Coluci

Vinnie, along with his partner Melissa Southern hosts Next Step Photography Workshops. This year at Grandfather mountain his presentation was on how to get zoo photos that appear to have been taken in the wild.

Mollie Isaacs & Mary Lindhjem

The final presentation was "Work It, Baby" by Mollie Isaacs & Mary Lindhjem of Awake The Light. Find the scene, find the scene within the scene and WORK IT!

And then there's the contest, with the Mark and Doug show. The contest offers the chance for attendees at the to photograph on the mountain and show their skills.

All I can say about the contest is to repeat THE PLEDGE: "I will not take the contest too seriously."

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Memorial Day

I'm a little late with this, but I wanted remember my friend Nathan.

I think I was in my first year of high school when Nathan's parents moved into the house behind ours. Nathan was their second child. He was a bit wild and frequently in trouble at school. Not a bad person, he just didn't like school and he wasn't shy about saying so; more of a cut up than a real trouble maker.

He was four years younger than me, and always hanging around. Kind of like having a second little brother to bug you. He and my brother became best friends.

I moved away to go to college while they were in junior high school, and only saw him a few times after that. But I heard about him from time to time from my brother .

He dropped out of school at 17 when his mama signed the papers for him to join the Marines. He grew up there. He was proud of his service and proud of his uniform. I don't know why he chose to end his own life.

I go see him a couple times a year. We all miss him.